Activities readied to mark Yolanda’s first anniversary
AJ de la Torre (The Freeman) - November 7, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - A number of activities are lined up in Cebu to commemorate super typhoon Yolanda’s wrath in the northern part of the province exactly a year ago tomorrow.

Today, a Eucharistic Mass would formally open the program at the Bogo City Coliseum, one of the structures in the city which was badly damaged by the typhoon.

Presentations of candidates and confirmation of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority graduates will then take place, followed by the distribution of certificates of training and certificates to livelihood seeding program beneficiaries lead by TESDA secretary Joel Villanueva. 

Governor Hilario Davide III will then lead the commemoration tomorrow by visiting the relocation sites in Sillon, Bantayan, as well as the distribution of the GI sheets in Madridejos town.

In a press conference yesterday, Davide confirmed that apart from Villanueva, other officials of national agencies will be attending or will be sending representatives. Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabi-litation and Recovery Secretary Panfilo Lacson will be represented by Undersecretary Leslie Cordero.

Davide said that apart from the government and LGU officials, he is also hoping that the public would participate in the commemoration of the super typhoon.

“I’d like to take this opportunity, human ta gikuso-kuso sa kusog na bagyong Yolanda niadtong 2013, it’s only fitting that we commemorate this katalagman na atong nahiaguman,” Davide said.

Meanwhile, Davide welcomed the possibility of speaking with Medellin town Mayor Ricky Ramirez who has confirmed his attendance in the said activities.

Ramirez has been criticizing the provincial government for alleged being selective in its rehabilitation efforts. He claimed that LGUs allied with the Liberal Party were given priority.

Ramirez is a member of the One Cebu Party of former governor and current third district Representative Gwendolyn Garcia, which is affiliated with the United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay. Governor Davide is part of the administration’s Liberal Party.   Davide said that if Ramirez would ask him regarding the rehabilitation projects, he would be more than willing to discuss it with him.  

“If mangutana siya nako, then I’ll answer him,” Davide said.

Further, Davide said that if non-government organizations, both foreign and local, who have donated for Yolanda victims would want to see the list proving that their donations were properly dispensed, the provincial government is ready to show the documents.

This amid news reports that foreign NGOs expressed disappointments because their donations were reportedly not distributed properly.

“That’s something to be looked into but as far as the province is concerned, with all the donations we received from international organizations na niagi nato, ato gyud na nahatag,” clarified Davide, who added that it would be understandable for these organizations to worry about their donations since they would obviously want transparency.

The provincial government received donations, both in cash and in goods, amounting to P18 million while it shelled out P62 million to aid the typhoon victims.

All in all, the province has distributed assistance to areas in Cebu affected by the typhoon worth P80 million which Davide said is well-liquidated.

Davide said the assistance includes relief goods and other forms of aid and not on shelter materials but he said they are seriously considering this already  after knowing that there are certain areas in the north, like in Bantayan town, that still has around 6,000 families living under tents, as reported by Mayor Ian Christopher Escario.

At the same time, Davide said that providing shelter for the victims remains to be the biggest challenge. Davide claimed that the province is ready for future typhoons even if it would be as strong as Yolanda.

‘We are ready for any eventuality, we are prepared. Sige ta’g padayun sa capacity building,” he said, adding that they are looking into purchasing more heavy equipment to be on stand-by for any disaster, as well as satellite phones since communication is vital during calamities.

Davide said that these were the preparations they did for typhoon Yolanda but what they did not expect was the strength of the typhoon. 

“Now we always expect for the worst,” said Davide.  (FREEMAN)


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